New York has the High Line,
Berlin has the Low Line
Dan Dorocic, Gianni Laneri ,
Michael Maginness, Samuel Carvalho, Berk Asal, Zoe Ritts, Sophie Marthe, Sinead
Petrasek, Phillipp Von Hase, Juraj Horňak, Irvandy Syafruddin, Thijs
Vleeschouwer, Zachi Raz-el, Alison Hugill, and Luka Murovec
The Questionarch is Berlin's answer to New York's High Line. It is located under an old train line that once connected East and West Berlin. The Questionarch is the public facing urban laboratory of the Berlin based interdisciplinary art and design collective ON/OFF. After spending almost a decade deploying temporary interventions that playfully interrupt ‘business as usual’ within public spaces, ON/OFF recognised the need for a more permanent space of research and reflection; a space that could be shared and open.
LOCATION: BERLIN, GERMANY
Questionarch is that space. It is an alternative and un-institutional space for studying the contested city – in particular its immediate context in Berlin’s rapidly gentrifying urban heart. It seeks to understand and operationalise the city’s social struggles and its material resources. Questionarch consists of an open workshop space (Fix-o-tek) and a video space (Vide-o-tek).
1. Mesto City shopping carts visits the Fixotek | image credit: Juraj Horňak
These two spaces sit adjacent to each other under the arches of what was, up until the second world war, a pedestrian tunnel under a railway line leading to one of the capital’s busiest stations. Throughout the cold war this area lay in the no-man’s land between east and west Berlin that skirted the Landwehrkanal, becoming a deserted and desolate urban wasteland. In 2009, ON/OFF and their friends began using this ambiguous, left-over space informally – as a storage shed, as a workshop and as a place for parties - gradually building more infrastructure into it as required.
2. Opening of the Videotek Arch | image credit: Dan Dorocic
Recently, they have transformed the arches into Questionarch; an active centre for critical urbanism. The arches provide a physical embodiment of the questions surrounding urban life in Berlin, questions ON/OFF tries to approach from an architectural and urbanist perspective. Questionarch’s program is based on values of participation, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and community building. Questionarch exists not only in an urban grey area, but an institutional and legal grey area too. It is increasingly accepted as part of the urban fabric but with no formal lease or title to the land.
3. Watching Films in the Videotek | image credit: Gianni Laneri Deforné
Its urban context fits its mission; sitting on a site that embodies Berlin’s embattled character. It is situated in the centre of what was Berlin’s countercultural heart and is now one of Berlin’s most desired neighbourhoods; wedged between the districts of Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Alt-Treptow. On one side is one of Berlin’s largest and longest running squatted housing projects, on the other is a renovated 19th Century industrial building housing tech start-ups.
Dan Dorocic, Gianni Laneri, Michael Maginness, Samuel Carvalho, Berk Asal, Zoe Ritts, Sophie Marthe, Sinead Petrasek, Phillipp Von Hase, Juraj Horňak, Irvandy Syafruddin, Thijs Vleeschouwer, Zachi Raz-el, Alison Hugill, and Luka Murovec